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The Dig: 34 Days Till UTEP Miner Football Kicks Off Edition

Gentleman, we're 34 Days Away From the Madness.......     This Time:  Tim Floyd gets some stuff off his chest; Some recruiting tidbits; One Miner great is doing great things with the Cowboys and another Miner great just received an incredible honor  from the New York Football Jets; and the Miners are SNUBBED by the C-USA TV Schedule.      In The Dig.  


A Must Read

UTEP's Tim Floyd sat down with ESPN's Andy Katz and coach used the opportunity to simultaneously close the book on the USC era and build anticipation for the Miner's upcoming season.   Katz has some good stuff on the state of UTEP basketball.

"I just feel so proud to be back,'' Floyd said. "It's just such a huge, huge part of my life. I never took a job without asking Coach Haskins first and consulting him. There were a lot of jobs I didn't take as a result of consulting him. His thoughts on the business without a doubt were the biggest influence on my career and I talked [to Haskins] four times a week until his death. I was with him the day that he died. It means everything to me [to be coaching at UTEP]. I know it's a tremendous motivation.''

Catching Up With a Miner Great

Sammy Garza was a quarterback at UTEP during the 1980's.  Now, he's the only Hispanic scout in the Dallas Cowboys organization.  The San Antonio Express News has a nice feature on another Miner done good.


Twenty-four years after his senior season as a Miner, Garza is a scout for the Dallas Cowboys and has the distinction of being the only Hispanic in the franchise's player personnel department. "I've been fortunate," Garza said while in San Antonio for the Cowboys' training camp at the Alamodome. "Getting a job in the NFL is almost the same as when you're playing. You have to get a break and get your foot in the door. Then you have to take advantage of the opportunity by working hard."
A Lifetime Achievement


Don Maynard, the former Miner to be in the NFL Hall of Fame, has been voted into the inaugural New York Jets Ring of Honor.  Bill Knight has a stellar article where he catches up with the Hall of Famer.

On Aug. 16, Maynard will be one of six New York Jets inducted into their original Ring of Honor in the New Meadowlands Stadium

Phil Johnson Cameo

Johnson, Tim Floyd's longtime assistant, was scouting some talent at an AAU tournament.  He had some great quotes in theTucson Citizen.

Johnson believes UTEP can regain the glory it had under the late, great "Bear" – Don Haskins — with Tim Floyd as head coach. "UTEP was more prestigious of a program than Arizona in college basketball before Coach Olson arrived," he said. "We believe the program can become successful like that again." …


The Conference USA football TV schedule has been released.  The league will have 17 games on CBS College Sports and NONE of them will feature the Miners despite the fact that El Paso has one of the biggest markets in the league, a stadium with more butts in the seats than just about anywhere, and an offense the people will watch.  Only UTEP's early season game with Houston will be nationally televised (ESPN 2).

Making the Move

UTEP's Geoff Amato, a product of Americas High School in East El Paso, has never quite found his niche at UTEP.  KTSM has a nice article and interview with Geoff who's hoping to contribute in 2010 by switching over to defensive end.  

"I am excited. At the same time it was tough, but I have two seniors in front of me that are very good at tight end, and I think that my spot at defensive end will give me a better chance of playing more, and I think I can help the team a lot. I have set my goals very high this year, and I plan on playing a lot, making a lot tackles and big plays, and being a big part of this team." 


Some Quick Recruiting Hits- Basketball

ESPN is reporting that UTEP is chasing David Gardner and out of Okolona Mississippi.  Gardner is a 6'7 wing player that sounds like he could contribute immediately.

Gardner is a long wing with deep shooting range. All of his 3-point shots where from at least NBA range and he has a quick and confident stroke and shoots over smaller defenders like they are invisible. He knocked down jumpers off the catch and dribble, and also did a good job moving without the ball. Gardner also displayed a nice mid-range pull-up and low wing post-up game when he had a size advantage. He is a good passer when he keeps it simple and is capable of breaking a game wide open with his shooting ability. Gardner reminds me at times of NBA shooting specialist Eddie House. Gardner is being recruited by Mississippi, Memphis and UTEP.

Garner looks really, good.  Check out his highlights- he'd instantly be one of our best deep threats.


ESPN is also reporting that the Miners are looking at Austin Del Valle's Karim York, a 6'8 power forward. (same article as above)

York got our attention right away with his constant activity, great skill and matching length. He is a terrific driver from the high post area and can knock the open 3 without hesitation. York is thin but welcomed contact in the post with his left-handed half-hook and turn shot. He is a good opencourt ball handler for his size and a good enough passer that can hit the open man. This wiry lefty works for rebounds on both ends and can block shots with good timing. York was a treat to watch make plays. He is hearing from Virginia, UTEP, SMU, Texas State, Texas Tech and Santa Clara so far.

Recruiting Hits- Football is reporting that UTEP is looking long and hard at defensive end prospect Herbert Gonzalez.

"UTEP is going to offer me soon, their defensive Co-oridinator Coach Patterson said to be expecting a offer in my first two games", said Gonzalez

Gonzalez looks disrupting, watch his highlight reel below.  He might be a bit short, he's listed at 6'0, but in film doesn't look close to it.  

TUTO Awake

Pablo Villa of TUTO has a new post up- he thinks UTEP will lose to Memphis and go winless in November.  No doubt that November is going to be difficult with SMU, Arkansas and Tulsa on the schedule, but I think if UTEP can gain some momentum in the early season they can definitely play with SMU and Tulsa.  Both those squads have comparable talent to the Miners.  Never underestimate how terrible Tulsa's defense is.  Right now, I can't toss out expected wins, not without seeing the defense in a game setting.  

Mike Price Strikes Again

The Tulsa World's Eric Bailey has some nice comments from Mike Price.  Coach thinks that the West is much stronger than the East Division.  Kevin Sumlin makes a great point, saying that the West is like the Pac 10 and the East is like the Big 10.  Spread offenses and points on the West and power running and defense to the East. 

"Our side is stronger than the East side," Price said during the league's media day festivities on Sunday in Memphis. It was a surprising comment, especially since the C-USA's East Division has won the past three league championship games. Houston coach Kevin Sumlin, sitting next to Price, unclouded things a little bit. "It's almost like two different leagues," Sumlin said. "It's like a Pac-10/Big Ten. The east side, as Mike brought up, physically those guys are bigger, stronger and faster.

Don't Forget

Whataburger is giving out free Whataburgers tomorrow at all the El Paso locations.  What's the only thing better than a Whataburger?  A free Whataburger.